Tell us how you slept last night – and get expert tips for better rest

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See how you compare to other readers – plus expert tips to improve your sleep.

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DID YOU GET a full night’s sleep last night? Or were you awake until all hours with a racing mind?

Whether you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow or you find yourself tossing and turning every night, sleep is a big part of all of our lives. 

See how you compare to other readers when it comes to your quality of sleep using our slider tool below.

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SWEET DREAMS

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being great, how well did you sleep last night?


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If you rated your sleep quality as low, there’s a chance you’ll feel the effects of it today. According to sleep physiologist Breege Leddy from The Insomnia Clinic, a bad night’s sleep can affect us in ways that are broader than just feeling tired.

“We all know the effects of a bad night’s sleep are feeling a bit fatigued, yawning, having poor concentration levels, and being a little bit more irritable the next day. They’re the short term effects.

“As for the long term effects, there’s decreased mood, decreased motivation, and poor short term memory. We can also have increased risk of some of the cardiovascular diseases and a decreased immune system.”

This feeling of fatigue is something many of us have become used to, says Breege. “When you get into a pattern of restless or disturbed sleep, you do start to think that it’s normal and that’s how you’re meant to feel. It’s really only when you get your sleep back on track, that you actually think, ‘God, I was in a bit of a kind of a fog there. Now I know what it’s like to wake up and feel refreshed the next day.’ It can become just part of your life.”

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So, what exactly can we do to improve our sleep? Read on for Breege’s advice.

Find out how many hours’ sleep you need

Many of us have heard that eight hours of sleep is the golden number, but Breege says the aim should be to find whatever number of hours’ sleep works for you.

“One of the bad habits or misperceptions we have about sleep is that, first of all, we think that the more sleep we get, the better we’ll feel, when in fact, that’s not the case. We’re all trying to get this golden eight hours’ sleep, when some people just don’t need eight hours. We’re all different, and the amount of sleep we need is individual to each of us.

“It’s really about the quality of sleep and getting good consolidated sleep on a regular, consistent basis. This is the amount of sleep we need in order to wake up, be refreshed, and basically to stop us from falling asleep during our wakeful hours.

The more sleep we get doesn’t necessarily mean the better we’re going to feel.

Wake up at the same time every day

While many of us love having a lie-in on weekends and “catching up” on sleep, Breege says this can have the opposite effect.

“The first thing that’s really important is to get up at the same time every morning, seven days a week, because that helps to stabilise the whole body clock or the whole circadian rhythm.

“It’s also important to have routine throughout the day. The body responds well to signals – we have to send the body some kind of signals in order to give it a sense of time. So with things like work schedules, try to have a consistent work schedule. Start work at the same time, as you normally do in the office, and have your breaks at the same time. Have your meals at set times throughout the seven days, finish work at a set time and try to replicate that normal working day.”

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Create a solid wind-down routine – and only go to bed when you feel sleepy

The events of the past year have left many people with countless worries and anxieties, which in turn can affect your ability to fall asleep. If this is an issue for you, Breege says the first port of call is to create a wind-down routine. 

“You have to have a really good wind-down time before bed because this time, maybe the two hours before bed, is kind of a protected time to prepare your body and your mind for sleep. It’s really important to be as as relaxed as possible. We have to look at the whole bedroom environment and make sure there are optimum conditions for sleep – so cool, quiet and dark.

“But you don’t necessarily have to go to bed at exactly the same time every night. I think that’s another major mistake that we make. We are going to bed because we think we should be going to bed at a certain time, but in fact the real signal for sleep should be when you feel sleepy – not because it’s a certain time on the clock. And I think that’s a thing that we’re actually missing.” Breege calls this feeling of sleepiness ‘sleep pressure’.

It’s all about recognising when the sleep pressure is there. We need sleep pressure in order to get a good night’s sleep. 

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Get out of bed if you can’t sleep

Many of us are familiar with waking up during the night and counting exactly how long we have left to sleep until our alarm goes off. However, this can make doing so even more difficult. So, what’s the best thing to do? According to Breege, the solution is to get out of bed.

“If you can’t sleep, don’t toss and turn, don’t lie there in the bed for long periods of time. If you stay in bed, the anxiety is kicking in, the frustration is kicking in. And while all of that is happening, the levels of the stress hormone cortisol are increasing. And that’s really going to lead to a very fragmented sleep.

“Get up, remove yourself from the bedroom and go do something nice and relaxing. Go back to bed when you’re feeling sleepy.”

How have you fared in comparison to other readers? If you are struggling to achieve a good night’s sleep, try to implement a good sleep routine and seek advice from your local pharmacist.

Nytol One-A-Night is a clinically proven night-time sleep aid to help people suffering from temporary sleep disturbance and can be taken for up to seven nights to help get your sleep pattern back on track.

Nytol One-A-Night 50mg tablets contains diphenhydramine hydrochloride. An aid to the relief of temporary sleep disturbances. For further information, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Always read the leaflet. 

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